Strip Cut, Micro Cut and Cross Cut Shredding: Which Is Best?


Strip Cut, Micro Cut and Cross Cut Shredding: Which Is Best?

When looking for a new paper shredder, you’ll need to consider what type of cut you need. Each type of cut will give a different level of security, ranging from basic strip cut shredding to high-security micro cut shredding. There’s also cross cut shredding which is a popular choice for those who want to maintain data security with a mid-range paper shredder.

Below, we look into each type of shredding cut, exploring how they work and their pros and cons, to help you decide which one is best for you. We also factor in the P-level of each shredder type.

The P-level relates to the security level of each shredder. The level corresponds to the size that the shredder will cut the paper into - the higher the P-level, the smaller the size of the paper strip and so the higher the security level. P-levels range from P1 to P7. At Leitz, our shredders range from P4 to P6 security level, with P4 being the minimum advised level to be GDPR compliant.

For more information on how to find the best paper shredder for your requirements, take a look at our shredder buying guide.



What is strip cut shredding?

Strip cut shredders vertically cut the paper into long lengths or strips - hence the name. It’s also sometimes known as spaghetti shredding, for how the paper looks after it has been shredded. Strip cut shredders typically cut an A4 piece of paper into around 30-50 strips.

Pros and cons of strip cut shredding

Strip cut shredders are the most basic type of shredder. They’re often cheaper and can be useful for those who want to do some occasional home shredding. Because of how the shredder cuts the paper in just one direction, they’re also sometimes quicker to shred.

However, strip cut shredders only cut paper to a P1 or P2 security level and, as we mentioned, it’s advised to use a paper shredder that’s a minimum P4 security level to be compliant with GDPR. So, those who want to be vigilant with their data protection should look for a paper shredder with a higher security level, such as cross cut shredders or micro cut shredders.



What is cross cut shredding?

Cross cut shredders cut the paper diagonally with the shredder using two sets of blades that cut simultaneously from different directions. A cross cut shredder will usually cut one piece of A4 paper into around 300 to 900 confetti-like pieces.

Pros and cons of cross cut shredding

Cross cut shredders will cut paper at a minimum P4 security level, the advised minimum for GDPR compliance. This means they can be useful for shredding documents that contain sensitive and confidential data, as the paper will be much harder to reconstruct once it’s shredded. All Leitz paper shredders - including our small shredders for the home have a minimum P4 security level, giving you piece of mind that your data will be kept safe.

Another benefit of cross cut shredding is because the paper is cut into smaller pieces, they will condense down more, and you can fit more into the shredder bin. This means you won’t have to empty it as often as you would with a strip cut shredder.

One disadvantage of cross cut shredding is that it’s not always appropriate for highly confidential documents. That’s where micro cut shredders come into play.



What is micro cut shredding?

Micro cut shredders, also known as security-cut shredders, cut paper into tiny pieces. Like cross cut shredders, they’ll cut the paper diagonally, but they’ll cut it into more pieces, that are smaller and finer. Typically, micro cut shredding will cut an A4 piece of paper into around 900 to 1,500 pieces.

Pros and cons of micro cut shredding

Micro cut shredders offer a high level of security, typically P5 or P6. Due to the size of the pieces after shredding, documents are extremely difficult to reassemble, which means confidential data is kept safe. Plus, because the shredders cuts the paper diagonally, any information is left unreadable.

Another advantage of micro cut shredding is that the bin can usually hold more, as the smaller pieces can be condensed down. So, you can save time by not having to empty the bin as often as you would with a strip cut or cross cut shredder. 

A downside of micro cut shredding is that it can take longer than other types of shredding, due to the number of times each piece needs to be cut. However, when you’re prioritising data security, the length of time it takes to shred can be an acceptable trade.

An auto feed shredder can help to combat this wait time. With an auto feed shredder, you won’t have to stand at the machine and manually feed the paper through. Instead, you can load a stack of papers into the machine, and it will do the work for you. We have a range of auto feed shredders, including those that operate with micro cut and cross cut shredding.




Leitz has a range of paper shredders designed to work in your home office or workplace safely and conveniently.

Read more about our paper shredders:

What are the Best Paper Shredders for Home Use?

What is the Best Heavy Duty Shredder for Your Office?

Why Choose a Cross-Cut Shredder?